Friday, January 13th, 2023

They could have just changed the sign …

Customer experience is the process is matching a business’ procedures with customer expectations.

Done well and you have created a fan; poorly and you get bad reviews.

Recently I took my dad to get a haircut. We went to a nearby barbershop with a sign in the window saying “Walk-In Customers Welcome.”

When we walked-in, the shop was busy with school kids getting their hair cut the day before school restarted. The barber stopped cutting hair, came over and suggested my dad make an appointment for later that afternoon instead of waiting.

Customer expectations no longer aligned with business procedures. My dad felt like he was being turned away because he didn’t have an appointment and that walk-in customers were not welcome despite the sign. He left frustrated and upset and they lost a potential new customer.

So what could they have done differently to win the customer over?

Here’s an idea: A sheet of lined-paper on a clipboard on the counter marked “Walk-in sign up sheet” and a pen. It would have visually clarified at once that all of the slots were taken for the next few hours with no explanation or interruption necessary. The first-come-first-serve hierarchy would have been preserved, even though the effect would be the same as making an appointment for three hours in the future.

Or they could have changed the sign in the window to read “Appointments Only.”

Either way, customer experience doesn’t have to be expensive, complicated or time consuming. All it takes is thinking about your business processes from the point of view of your customers and making sure your offering is aligned with your customers’ thinking and expectations.

Chances are, most businesses have missed the mark with customer experience in one way or another. The question is, what are we doing to continuously improve alignment with our customers?

If you’ve faced a customer experience issue—either as a customer or as a business owner—please hit reply and tell me about it. I’d love to hear your story and how things could have been done differently.